Researchers hope to screen thousands of cats as part of a clinical trial involving a new liquid medication formulated for feline hypertension.
More than 35 study sites in the United States and Canada will test cats previously diagnosed with kidney disease, a condition often associated with hypertension, or high blood pressure.
Cats that meet all the criteria, including a diagnosis of both kidney disease and hypertension, may be eligible to receive free medical care in a double-blind, placebo-controlled study sponsored by an undisclosed drug maker. The manufacturer may seek U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval of the medication, according to Visionaire Research & Education, a Raleigh, N.C., company behind the recruitment effort.
Irreversible organ damage may be prevented when feline hypertension is diagnosed and treated early, said Scott Brown, VMD, Ph.D., Dipl. ACVIM.
"This is an important study because feline hypertension is increasingly being recognized in veterinary medicine as a disease process that causes significant morbidity and mortality,” added Dr. Brown, a professor at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine. "Unfortunately, we don’t yet have any FDA-approved medications to treat it.”
Drugs are commonly prescribed off-label as an alternative, Visionaire added.
The study is expected to run for up to three years at sites in California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and throughout Canada.
Among the owners who signed up was Geneva Fraser of Vancouver, Wash., whose cat, Oscar, was found to have hypertension.
"The investigator's clinic is an all-feline practice, so it’s not a stressful environment for Oscar,” Fraser said.
In addition to free study-specific care, owners may receive monetary rewards credited to their referring veterinarian’s account.
To qualify for the study, cats must be at least 1 year old and be well enough to participate for up to six months. Other criteria and more information are available at www.MyCatCanHelp.com or by calling 855-254-3971.